First foray into Pico CMS

I started playing with Pico CMS this weekend. I converted everything that is on my Concrete5 based site into the Pico site on my development box. I am pretty happy so far with the system.

Struggles:

  • Markdown syntax
  • Including “widgets”

The markdown syntax is not hard, it is just unfamiliar to me. However, I can already see how it simplifies content entry. Once I get up to speed it will be fast and quite fun. Creating links with []() as a syntax is cool.

I also was not aware that tabs in your formatting makes Markdown misbehave. I am quite certain it is a feature, so that if you want to show code in pretty formatting you can just tab on a new line and it will output HTML rather than rendering the HTML. The same is true if you want a list and you press tab and then use an asterix, no list appears just an asterix and your content on the screen.

I have not yet determined the best way to include a “widget” in the markdown syntax. For instance, I have a display of recently read books generated from Good Reads and the HTML/JS/CSS that is generated for that is bulky. I would love to be able to include that chunk of code with something like

<?php include ('goodreads.html'); ?>

That may be possible but I haven’t figured it out yet as the include would be in a .md file not .php. For now, I just pasted the chunk into the page and it works but it does not seem to be maintainable.

Triumphs:

  • It is simply awesome to be able to create directories and have that become a path that is responded to by the CMS.
  • The system is so raw it lets me really see the web as a canvas again for playing and experimenting on.

In Drupal, it is very easy to create new paths using path-auto and alias. However, where that page lives is in the database. When it comes time to do a redirect it updates the database. Within the Pico paradigm, you just move the file or directory and the paths are updated. An Apache rewrite rule I am sure would be needed for continuity but there is no admin interface to go into, no menu structure to explain, it is simple. That is refreshing.

The default theme is not responsive but it doesn’t do anything with the content either. It is plopped onto the screen. As Pico is based on Twig I am excited to build a simple Twig and Singularity based theme. The theme will also have some classes built in to support slideshows. It will be a good adventure.

 

1 thought on “First foray into Pico CMS

  1. I’m having difficulty with widgets too. My config file doesn’t change too which is another annoyance. I love Markdown support, though, I’ve been using it for a good while because of Reddit so it’s easy for me to work with it. And there’s extra support for more functions as well. I just love it. Actually, I love Pico in general but some of these issues really are annoying…

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